What Good is History?

How important is historical literacy in today’s world, where popular culture focuses on the here and now and the milestone events in our nation’s past often get short shrift? Two Pulitzer Prize-winning historians recently weighed in on that question, during a scholarly forum at The Huntington titled “On the Importance of Historical Literacy: … Continue reading

The Map That Changed the World

In 1815, a surveyor named William Smith published a huge, 10-by-16-foot map of England, Wales, and part of Scotland titled A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales. Up until then, explorers had sketched fairly accurate maps of land’s extent and contours. Smith’s hand-colored map indicated the geologic units … Continue reading

Remembering Loren Miller

Loren Miller (1903-1967) was a Los Angeles-based attorney and civil rights activist who drafted most of the briefs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), which ended legal segregation in public schools. He also specialized in housing discrimination cases, owned the California Eagle—one of … Continue reading

Sir Isaac Newton, Alchemist?

Is it possible that the English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest theorists in the history of science, practiced alchemy? That a giant of the scientific revolution shared a dream common among charlatans of his age—to turn lead into gold? William R. Newman, professor of history … Continue reading

Fantasy Aloe Hybrids

When it comes to aloe collecting, Karen Zimmerman’s hybrids are real show-stoppers. As The Huntington’s propagator of succulent plants, Zimmerman has had amazing success breeding striking, jagged-toothed specimens permeated with red, orange, or yellow that produce delectable contrasts with the aloes’ green to bluish-green leaves. Take her Aloe ‘DZ’. A … Continue reading